Watch for UFOs suddenly appearing in the north end of Halifax. The Beastie Boys' DJ Mix Master Mike is coming to rock the Paragon Friday night with a no-holds-barred, "don't bring your pillows, bring your hockey stick, in-your-face, psychedelic funk instrumental hip-hop show," and he might just be bringing the aliens with him.
"Humans cannot hope to understand everything their music projects, we communicate more than we possibly understand," he says. "We are three-dimensional beings and I think my music can break the fourth dimension. The reason they are on this planet is that we are calling them out. You never know what can happen at one of my shows."
Mix Master Mike, aka Mike Schwartz, could say the same about his 20-year career, where everything from a fan storming the stage and biting his neck to touring the world with the Beastie Boys has happened for the 39-year-old Jewish-American rap icon.
Music played a large part in his life since the day he was born. His father was a drummer in a well-known San Francisco Bay area group, and introduced him to the songs of Miles Davis, Coltrane and Isaac Hayes at a very early age. He always wanted to make music, but didn't know what type.
When he saw Grandmaster Theodore on stage with Herbie Hancock, Schwartz knew he wanted to become a DJ. He wanted to use the turntables like Miles played trumpets, like his father played the drums. But without enough money for turntables, he made music with two tape decks instead until he saved up his lunch money and bought turntables at the end of high school.
Schwartz describes his rise in the hip-hop world as being similar to Bruce Lee's brutal ascent in Game of Death, while Lee battled karate masters on each floor of a South Korean pagoda, each opponent more difficult than the last, Schwartz went from winning DJ battles in garages to becoming a three-time world champion. Now he plans on launching a DJ revolution.
"Razhel, DJ Mudd, Q-bert, my wife and myself have formed Coupland Entertainment. We are looking for new talent, to add to our DJ and MC roster. It's global, it's everywhere, it's going to be a union, it's coming to Halifax. We are going to take over the whole DJ world."
This provides extra incentive to the four newbie DJs opening for Schwartz: They're competing against each other as part of Phil Harris's Come Up documentary, where everyday normal people were given the chance to learn the art of the DJ. "Sharing the stage with Mix Master Mike is nothing less than an honour," says Harris. "DJs can go their whole career without opening up for someone of this calibre. Our competitors are opening for a Beastie Boy four months after pushing the power switch on a mixer for the first time. Simply incredible."
Competitor Sean Young, 29, always wanted to become a DJ but never had the time. Since the competition began, Young---despite working 60-hour weeks and taking courses---has taken the first steps to become a DJ in his own right and will be opening for his mentor DJ IV's new biweekly hip-hop night at the Paragon.
"I have always been huge into music and never had the opportunity to do it. Now I can. What else is there to say?"
Mix Master had this advice for the competitors: "Get into the study of music, learn more music, don't just listen to hip-hop, listen to everything outside of hip-hop. Study your lessons. If it wasn't for Grand Wizard Theodore I wouldn't have learned, if it wasn't for cats like Isaac Hayes he wouldn't have learned. Study your lesson and just learn. There is no end to what you can create. You gotta find the next thing. Q-bert and I were 10 years ahead of our time. I am looking to what music people will like in 2020 for what I am making now."
Come see the future for yourself. 2020 awaits you. Come boogie with the aliens.